Level 2 – Handstand Push-Up

In level 2 we finally start working on your first handstand pushup! Pretty exciting stuff. By now, you should feel comfortable popping up to a handstand against the wall and can knock out some pushups.

  • Current ability: Comfortably kick up into a handstand against the wall, hold a position with tight abs and no arch in the lower back for 20 seconds, and comfortably come back down.
  • Goal: 1 strict handstand push-up. To do this, you should be able to kick up to a handstand against the wall, touch your head to the ground, and push back up again.
  • How to: Rotate days 1-4 until you are able to do a strict HSPU. Once you can do one strict HSPU any day of the week then you can move to Level 2.
  • Suggested scale during WOD’s: Push-Ups.

The negative HSPU will be a staple in levels 2-5. Eccentric movement under load is a tried and true method for developing strength. We’ll be using that as a tactic to build your pressing strength.

A negative HSPU  is performed by getting into the handstand position and lowering yourself at a 3-4 second pace. Notice I said lower and not drop! The purpose is a controlled move through this range of motion. Not just moving through the range of motion for the sake of checking it off in the workout log. Do them right and take your time.

It should go without saying but as you move into using a deficit the time will increase as the ROM increases. Furthermore, while performing this movement there is a propensity for most to accelerate as you get closer to the end range of the movement. Your singular goal is to fight that inclination and gravity. This will allow you to keep the same pace throughout the entire movement on the way down. Once your head is on the ground or an ab mat you can just come out of it. Eventually, you’ll push back up!

Throughout levels 2-5, you will have a negative HSPU in your programming every microcycle. Depending on your ability you can use any of the progressions below.

A  negative with 3 ab mats will have a ROM of about 3 to 9 inches and is the easiest. A negative HSPU where you lower your head between two boxes and touch your shoulders would be about 2-3 feet. That is the hardest negative you’ll be doing in the HSPU progression.

It’s worth noting that the scope of this progression is to help you RX Cross-Training WOD’s with HSPU’s. There are still more difficult HSPU pressing movements beyond level 5. For example, a full ROM HSPU either freestanding or on the rings!

Here are the 9 levels of a negative HSPU we will use in this program.

  1. 3 ab mats.
  2. 2 ab mats.
  3. 1 ab mat.
  4. The ground.
  5. 2″ deficit on a box with ab mats in-between.
  6. 4″ deficit on a box with ab mats in-between.
  7. 6″ deficit on a box with ab mats in-between.
  8. 8″ deficit on a box with ab mats in-between.
  9. The shoulder touches a box.
BEFORE WODAccumulate 20 knees on box handstand push-ups. Go up 5/week till you are at 40. Each week make it a little more difficult by using a higher box or getting the chest closer to box. 10×1 slow and controlled negatives to the ground. At first, you may not be able to control yourself slow enough and could bump your head. If this is the case I suggest using abmats to reduce the ROM and provide a cushion. As you progress you can remove them till you can lower yourself safely to the ground. 3 sets of 5 elevated pushups. Once you can do all 15 reps at a certain height move up 3-6 inches on the box. At first, a box will be too high. In this case, you can use a bumper plate(s). 10×1 slow and controlled negatives to the ground. Go up 1 rep a week till you move to the next phase.
AFTER WOD2 sets of 8-12 pike push-ups.